Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

February 24, 2023

REVIEW: South Windsor Cultural Arts, "Einav Yarden"

Evergreen Crossings, South Windsor, CT 
February 19, 2023 
by Michael J. Moran 

Internationally acclaimed Israeli-born pianist Einav Yarden, now based in Berlin, Germany, brought an innovative program to South Windsor of lesser-known repertoire by composers with familiar last names, including Bach -- Carl Philipp Emanuel (the son) and Johann Sebastian (the father) Brahms. 

C.P.E. Bach, one of four sons of J.S. Bach who became composers, was both more prolific than his father and more popular until at least the mid-19th century. Yarden opened her concert with three short examples of what she described in brief remarks as the “sensitive style” of his music from the 1770s: two playful Rondos (in C minor and G major); and a mercurial Fantasy in E-flat major. The sharp-edged clarity of her playing recalled that of her teacher, legendary pianist Leon Fleischer. 

This was followed by a dramatic reading of the second of J.S. Bach’s six 1714 English suites, with a vigorous Prelude, a graceful Allemande, a stately Courante, a heartfelt Sarabande, a fleet pair of Bourrees, and an explosive “Gigue.” Next came C.P.E. Bach’s 1745 “Arioso with 7 Variations” in F major, which Yarden saw as foreshadowing Mendelssohn (who revived interest in J.S. Bach) almost a century later, and her buoyant performance made a powerful showcase for this imaginative score. 
Both the classical rigor of Bach the father and the emotional force of Bach the son were evident in Yarden’s protean rendition of Johannes Brahms’ 1892 set of seven Fantasies, Op. 116, concluding her program in the late Romantic era. She accordingly deepened her touch on the keyboard for a commanding Capriccio in D minor, a solemn Intermezzo in A minor, an intense Capriccio in G minor, a deeply felt Intermezzo in E Major, a glowing Intermezzo in E minor, a delicate second Intermezzo in E major, and a turbulent final Capriccio in D minor. 

Yarden displays enormous technical proficiency, unerring interpretive mastery, and a winning stage presence which clearly engaged her capacity audience. The theater in this suburban Connecticut venue offers warm acoustics and comfortable, accessible seating. 

SWCA, a nonprofit, volunteer-supported organization, has sponsored this free concert series for 40 years. All concerts take place on Sundays at 2:00 pm at 1:30 pm. Next up is the Boston-based Balourdet Quartet on March 19.